Obama Admin Proposes Rule Prohibiting States From Defunding Planned Parenthood

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 29, 2016   |   11:09AM   |   Washington, DC

Pro-abortion President Barack Obama has proposed a new rule that would essentially prohibit states from defunding the Planned Parenthood abortion business. Leading pro-life members of Congress is not happy about it.

The proposed rule from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) could prevent states from blocking Title X funding (federal dollars for family planning services) to abortion companies like Planned Parenthood.

Today, Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, joined more than 100 Members of Congress in sending a bipartisan and bicameral letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell expressing opposition to the Department’s new proposed rule. The Obama Administration rule, which would funnel federal tax dollars to abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood, was met with widespread opposition due to its mandates over state governments and for the proposed government-funded abortion requirements.

“Taxpayer funding should in no way support abortions, but that’s exactly what this Obama Administration proposed rule would allow by forcing federal dollars to abortion mills like Planned Parenthood — even if an individual state has prohibited it,” Vitter said. “We are strongly urging HHS to reconsider this wildly overreaching and politically motivated rule, giving states the ability to govern themselves in the ways they see fit.”

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Today’s letter is critical of HHS’ claims that providers with a family planning health focus are more “effective” than other health care providers which offer more widespread care for citizens. If the rule’s claim is reputed, it would establish a nationwide directive that these more specialized providers receive priority for the receipt of Title X granted funds at the expense of other clinics like comprehensive primary care providers and community health centers.

During the last few Congresses, Vitter has lead legislation in the U. S. Senate to prohibit federal family planning funds from being awarded to any grantee that performs abortions by amending the Public Health Service Act. His bill is called the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act. U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) has authored companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In March 2016, Vitter, along with U.S. Representatives Diane Black (R-Tenn.) and Pete Olson (R-Texas) led a group of more than 120 Members of Congress requesting the GAO to investigate how taxpayer funding is specifically used by Planned Parenthood and other federally funded organizations that perform or promote abortion. In April, GAO announced they would conduct the investigation in response to the Members’ request.

Congresswoman Black has also criticized Obama for the proposal to stops states from defunding Planned Parenthood.

“This latest stunt from President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services should surprise absolutely no one,” Rep. Diane Black told LifeNews.com

“We’ve known all along that the Obama Administration will go to untold lengths to protect its friends in the big abortion industry. After all, this Administration has previously used backdoor maneuvers to line Planned Parenthood’s pockets with Obamacare navigator grants and praised the abortion provider’s ‘high ethical standard’ even after it was caught trafficking in baby body parts,” Black said.

She continued: “Now, they have taken the unprecedented step of thwarting states’ rights with a shady proposed rule change that prevents states from funding the providers who will best serve their citizens.  In the coming days, I intend to lead a letter expressing the deep concerns of Members of Congress on this proposal, but we won’t stop there. We must use the full force of Congress and the grassroots strength of the national pro-life movement to defeat this absurd rule and prevent the Obama Administration from acting unilaterally to carry out political favors and prop up a scandal-ridden abortion provider.”

Here’s an example of how Obama’s proposed rule would prevent states from revoking taxpayer funding for the abortion company Planned Parenthood.

Under current state law, the state of Tennessee doles out Title X funding provided by HHS to county health departments, who then determine appropriate sub-grantees. All 95 counties have identified community health centers and other providers aside from Planned Parenthood who meet all Title X eligibility criteria to receive this funding, effectively cutting off Planned Parenthood’s access to Title X funds in the state of Tennessee.

The proposed rule from HHS cites other examples of states such as Florida and Texas enacting or attempting to enact similar measures. The rule would attempt to undermine such state laws, explaining that it “precludes project recipients [states] from using criteria in their selection of subrecipients that are unrelated to the ability to deliver services to program beneficiaries in an effective manner.”